Zika – news you can use

Finally a glimpse of hope in Zike related news! This BBC  article highlights the progress made towards a Zika vaccine and includes a 2018 release date. 

The question is why has this received so little coverage. I can see benefits on waiting to share this information until the vaccine is fully developed. It can be hard to properly disseminate highly technical information. You wouldn’t want people to think its not as serious as it is, or to give false hope.

If traveling, be sure to keep the bug spray handy this summer. Here is a great NPR article on the most effective insect repellants out there.



Health on social

Since social media has been a big part of my internship search, I felt I really needed to start to learn who was doing it effectively. Below are some great findings.

Healthcare Influencer List

  • I had no idea that there were healthcare influencers! I’ve long been familiar with Johns Hopkins School of Public health, as it’s a top ranked MPH and med school. Here is there Twitter. It was actually a little different than I would think it would be. It was very informative, and personally being in the public health field I thought it was interesting. However, it was really only for public health professionals and those in the research world. It was very research heavy and even I had a hard time understanding their stand alone tweets. Its funny because this was one of the major reasons I passed on the MPH track. It’s all well and good to have interesting information, but if its not tied to strong intervention or communications, its effects are limited. However, I was really impressed with the CDC and APHA, but they have way less followers.

CDC Social media

  • The CDC had individual accounts for each health aliment which can be found here.  I really liked the eHealth and Diabetes accounts. My favorite initiative is the “Public Health Nerd.”  A great post is “ Suspect you are a public health nerd?” Very Creative! It doesn’t seem to be well maintained, and some of these posts are from 2013. When I checked Twitter for the#phnerd hashtag, there is a little activity, but very rarely is it linked back to the CDC. However, I’m glad I found it because people do seem to be really excited about public health. Using the hashtag I found some interesting public health Twitter accounts and organizations. There was one especially interesting organization called Lucky Iron Fish.

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  • Also worth checking out is the CDC’s instagram. I was impressed to see they have 200,000 followers! However, some posts were awkward pictures of their campaigns. I was not feeling the below pictures. They are a  bit cheesy and it took away from the other amazing posts. My favorite was about a local Ebola Campaign. There was entirely too much text, but I liked the overall idea. Another great example was an up close and personal shot of bacteria. 

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Special Note on the APHA

After doing all this social media research, I feel like the APHA deserves a special shout out. I can’t believe its taken me this long to blog about the organization. I went to the APHA conference in San Francisco a few years ago, and have been a huge fan ever since.  Its a non profit that works to connect public health professionals in the aim of improving health outcomes all over the world. Below is their simply and awesome Mission and Vision (below).

Our Mission- Improve the health of the public and achieve equity in health status.

Our Vision- Create the healthiest nation in one generation.


There are two major features on their website that really stick out. On their homepage are a list of webinars that anyone can attend. One particularly interesting one is found here.  You can even view past webinars. Here is one that addressed the Flint Water Crisis.  You can find out more about the APHA here.  The second feature that I thought was great was their Public Health Newswire. It collects all the latest health related news.


Lazy = driving to store and getting bacon

This is one of my favorite articles of all time. I am so happy I found it. I recognized it right away.

I remember reading this article and just having my mind bend by obstacles faced by the featured family.  I didn’t really ever think of how once one is financially unstable , how impossible it can be to change their situation. The article,” Waiting for the 8th” describes this perfectly.

Even though its been three years since I read this article, the part I remembered the most were the telling details. I remembered a slight variation of the following phrase, “Lazy would be getting in a car, turning on the heat, going to the grocery store and picking out some bacon.”

First, it reconfirms the importance of “telling details” and how this article is laced with factual information, but  it was the quote about how getting in your car and driving to get bacon is easy. I remembered it was about poverty and homelessness in DC, but it was this quote that stuck with me.

This was probably the first time I was really exposed to the idea of social determinants of health. The part of the story that is eye opening is how organized, and frugal the mother had to be just to be able to feed her children – a basic need. It  seemed like a part-time job organizing all the resources to ensure food was available. It makes perfect sense that these stressors were beginning to affect how she felt about herself and she reported,”stress, panic attacks, leg numbness and anxiety.”


Got Music?

Another thing I love about this city is the music, everywhere, all day, every day. From riding the metro listening through earbuds to unparalleled, live concerts that have a medley of members from 4+ bands. It is a deeply musical city.  Just last night I went to the Bowery Ballroom at saw three amazing acts for $15, thats $5 a pop. Can’t beat that. Small Black featured below.



Over the years I’ve read countless articles on the benefits of music. Here are a mire 20 health related benefits. I personally would not have gotten through the GRE, grad school application process and transition to NYC without tunes flowing, and on repeat.

Here is one of my favorite and most creative music related applications. NPR writes about a film that shows how a cost effective music program seemed to improve functioning and quality of life in elderly patients with Alzheimers.


This has been the most attention getting and pathos-saturated Zika piece I have seen. It is a video by AJ+  It is a simple, low budget piece with clear, reasonable low grade level language to described a really sweet, likable mother learning how to care for her child while he suffers from effects related to the virus. Her challenges of caring for new baby are the same as anyone here in the U.S. Everyone just wants to be able to take care of and raise their children.

I feel like the producers of this video do a great job. It shows the audience that this mother is doing everything she can to balance her new responsibilities with her current ones.

This is excellent storytelling and could be used a model by other nonprofits. I like the light music and featured proactive mother just trying to do her best. Although it is obvious she is in a low-income housing development, I do like that they are trying to put a positive spin on this situation. I mean who doesn’t want to just give this mother a hug? I wish I could donate directly to her!

I found an interesting site called “Healthmap.org”  that tracks all outbreaks including Zika, which unfortunately shows it seems to be spreading. Since most of us in the U.S. live in highly populated cities, crisis protocols are of the utmost importance in dealing with an outbreak. Here is another excellent article on Zika and how structural issues keep families from getting the care they need. It reports how “telemedicine” and mobile treatment vehicles has been effective in helping those in need treat alignments. Below is one of the most powerful pictures I’ve seen to showcase the effects the virus has had on infants.



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Diagnoses Relief

Last week I posted about the Ad Council’ autism awareness campaign. I snooped around a bit more and found an NPR article to back up much of what I posted last week. Below is a great article about three individuals  journey to an autism diagnoses. The one that stuck out the most was Sam Harvey (below). I hate to give it away, but he was able to navigate the school system and become a teacher before finding out he even had a social disorder. This proves that for many integration into the school system at a young age has proven benefits.

As an aside, I love the graphics they used to portray each of the featured individuals. They are portrayed in positive light, as if they were a famous, contemplative author or musician. I think this is a wonderful way to portray those who have difficult stories to share.

Pieces like this can really work to decrease stigma of those with disabilities. Imagine if a teacher shared these stories with a class in middle school?


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Ad Council FTW

My absolute favorite campaign right now is the Ad Council’s Autism Awareness ( ad featured below). Here is a great video that seems like it could be appropriate not just for families learning how to handle an autism diagnoses but also for young students. This would help children develop more empathy and understanding towards those with developmental disabilities. I have volunteered with Easter Seals and truly believe in its evidence based programs. Here is some interesting info. on services for children while attending school. My favorite part of the organization was learning how having an inclusive school environment helps those with disabilities progress faster and helps those without learn to be empathetic and sensitive at an extremely young age = win-win.



Most importantly, here is an interesting a report that says financial and economic status plays a role in increasing chances of autism, as a mother’s health can effect rates. You can find the study on autism here. Just another example of how your environment can determine your health.




The Realest Human of NY post

The Realest Human of NY post

A few weeks ago we had a class dedicated to the Real Humans of NY. We studied interview techniques and why the pictures from an amateur photographer resonated so much with so many people. The post has always been the one that stuck out the most even though I read it almost a year ago. It was posted in August 2015, and it perfectly describes social determinants of health. Although this man’s issue was a health issue, it was actually a societal and structural constraints that kept him from living a fulfilling and happy life. It was because his community didn’t accept him, and not his disabilities, that ended up being his biggest obstacle. It is truly heart breaking, but I think its is important for people to know about these types of issues even though sometimes it feels like there is nothing that can be done about it. Although this is heart wrenching, my favorite part is seeing all the wonderful comments from all over the world.  One comment featured below had about 35,000 likes, but the post itself has about 350,000 views. Imagine if there was a way to monetize this and have 5 cents for every click?


My favorite thing about this post were the positive and heart felt user comments. One  user commented, “Everybody needs and deserves love and companionship.” I love how Brandon Staunton makes everyone so relatable and shows us we are more alike than we are different. I just wish there was more non profits highlighted to help the people are are shown, or to show if this post has helped them in any way. I remember hearing in a lecture coming into a community and giving it a bunch of attention, making false promises and then leaving never to be heard from again, can often have deterimental effects to those they meant othelp, without creating some sort of supportive system or follow up. I hope at the very least people who read this learn to treat  and better invest in people with disabilties.

You can find the link here.

“Selling” Health

When I was home for spring break getting my hair cut and I saw some attention getting packaging that caught my eye.

These were done by R and Co  and its obvious that they are soaked in customer insights.  In reality what does a well done manicure or a leather jacket have to do with hair spray? Absolutely nothing. And it doesn’t really matter. What matters is that I knew I liked it and it stood out from the other products. This made me wonder if any health products were trying out similar tactics.














When I looked to see if there similar techniques in packaging. I quickly was able to find a fair around. Below are some examples of a creative food, acne medicine and meal packaging.


Bored Panda – Fit Buns
Bored Panda – Clearasil Acne txt


Emotive Food packaging article

This is my favorite packing item. As soon as I saw it I could imagine myself grocery shopping in NYC and seeing this, feeling home sick, buying it and sending a pic to my mom. I love that you can see the actual products and the drawings are creative without being too much. Its limit on colors, and white packaging help create a simple, crisp look that seem to be a good choice and properly reflect the values of a produce company.